A Double-Whammy McDonalds Advert: McCafe and Big Mac

Big Mac advert

Recently, while out on manoeuvres, I had a close escape. Settling down to watch The Post (sentimental tripe) at my local cinehouse I was subjected to not one, but two McDonald’s adverts. Clearly my enemies had found me and taken great delight into showing two adverts about the popular burger chain’s Type II Edible Matter Products.

The first I have talked about before – the McDonald’s McCafe advert – but there is a new iteration. This time, rather than poking fun at coffee houses themselves it’s those pesky young people with beards and knowledge who are getting it in the neck.

As I have said before I’m ambivalent about coffee snobbery. On the one hand the achingly wanky hipster coffee houses of the world are an expensive and pretentious indulgence. But I’ve been in very few coffee houses that fit this bill. Most are cheerful, independent and employ local people and local ingredients.

mcdonalds mccafe advert

I’ve been into McDonald’s ‘restaurants’ a couple of dozen times in my life, usually under protest and in a larger group,and I have never found them to be cheerful. Independent? Nope. Local ingredients? Nope. They might employ some local people – but let’s not forget that economies of scale in business lead to fewer jobs than in comparable independent businesses. This is a statistical fact.

What I hate about this advert is how thoroughly, aggressively anti-knowledge it is. It sneers at knowledge, passion and skill – and by virtue of this it sneers at independent business, individuality – even thinking. “Get in line,” says the McDonald’s McCafe advert “and drink your cheap, shitty coffee lest people in the quirky cafe next door laugh at you.”

It’s the perfect metaphor for Brexit, where fear of ridicule, fear of change and fear of the Other overrides everything. Look at the bloke in the image above, terrified because the coffee guy is sitting down next to him and explaining coffee. Imagine living your life like the protagonists in this advert – forever afraid. And probably a bit racist. A disturbing vision for a resolutely Stupid, Fearful Britain riddled with terrible coffee.

Next, it’s the anniversary of the Big Mac. It’s 50 years old, which is probably the average life expectancy of someone who eats this rubbish regularly, their arteries probably harder than Chuck Norris.

I wouldn’t eat a Big Mac if you paid me. I once ate a chicken McBurger after a drunken night out and the memory of the taste of sugar – in the bun, in the mayonnaise, in the coating – still makes me retch. Year later on a very early-morning work trip I ventured into one with some colleagues and rationalised that they could hardly fuck up a breakfast wrap.

Wrong. My overriding memory of this was a wrap and a frisbee of egg that tasted of, yes, sugar. No wonder people get all aggressive when you question their McDonald’s habits – Maccies has got them physically addicted to the gak they pump into their food.

Big Mac advert

So I’m not moved to celebrate the invention of a burger that has probably sent thousands to an appointment with a specialist diabetes nurse. Not convinced? Here’s an illuminating post about what eating ONE Big Mac does to your body and the potential consequences, which include the following phrases:

“raises your blood sugar to abnormal levels…”
“contributes to the likelihood of compulsive eating”
“These ingredients are also harmful and can cause obesity, diabetes and heart disease…”
“This huge amount of salt can result in dehydration…”
“This causes high blood pressure and can ultimately lead to heart disease and stroke…”
“you have lost control of your blood sugar, making you crave even more fast food…”
“The high-fructose corn syrup in the Big Mac bun…[causes] insulin spikes and even greater hunger pangs…”
“The burger’s ingredients can cause serious harm to your body, especially when you consume them on a regular basis…”
“Azodicarbonamide… is also carcinogenic…”
“…increases your chances of becoming overweight by 40%…”

Again, what’s so obnoxious about the actual advert is the contempt directed at people who don’t choose to eat this processed shit, as if you have to be some sort of weird elite to not eat crap. The response to the man who has never had a Big Mac? More contempt. I’ve never had a Big Mac either and there are few things of which I’m more proud.

The first time I went into a McDonald’s – about 1988 – I threw the food down in disgust, much to the amusement of my classmates. One of them shouted acrosss to a nearby Maccies worker – in a situation not unlike the one portrayed in this advert – and said: “Our mate says your food is horrible!”

The employee looked from me to my mate, watched him scarfing down his Big Mac and pointed at me.

“He right,” he said in broken English.

Then he pointed at my mate, wiping away grease and cow parts from his face.

“You wrong.”

And off he went, sweeping the floor.

It’s literally 30 years ago and I still often think of that chap – like something from a Hollywood film that makes the protagonist recognise some universal wisdom – and wonder where he is now. Not working in a Maccies, I hope.

What’s always noticeable about these McDonald’s adverts is the cast of people they include – like a pick’n’mix of regional working-class types. Look carefully, you’ll usually find a workman’s helmet in there somewhere. And families, oh the families. Because what sort of parent are you if you don’t given in to your kids and feed them food you know is astonishingly bad for them?

Rarely do you see anyone in a McDonald’s advert who is dining alone. Imagine what sort of sad bastard would be eating a Big Mac on his own, eh?

Because there is something almost unbearably sad about someone going to a McDonald’s on their own and eating a Big Mac on their own – perhaps a single candle sticking out of a Big Mac bun on the occasion of their own 50th birthday, riddled with gout, gasping for breath and reaching for a vial of insulin.

Yes, happy birthday Big Mac and thanks for everything you’ve done for us.

The Worst Adverts of 2017: Vote

Is it that time again. For the bad things? You know, the worst adverts of 2017? The things that have been making your angry, upset, irritated or perhaps even clinically insane over the course of the year? I must say, 12 months ago I was struggling for things to say. Now, as I find myself casting an eye withered by intense hatred over what advertising has served up over the last 12 months, I feel reborn. Just like America, where it’s morning again. If that morning looks like a coming fascist apocalypse.

Back over in Blighty it’s not been much cheerier, but luckily we’re going to leave the European soon and all our problems will be solved. The economy will rebounce, there’ll be a million more houses once the Eurocrats stop us using straight bananas for bricks and there will be no further Muslim families in adverts (thanks for nothing, Gordon Brown!).

worst adverts of 2017

And on the telly? No comfort there. Between the meat-grinder aesthetics of box-set killathons, The Handmaid’s Tale and This Fucking Morning there’s precious little to lift spirits. And sandwiched in between like James Corden wrapped up in, well, two more James Cordens the adverts are waiting for us.

They get you while you’re weak you know. Just when you’re reeling from Trump and nuclear war and the housing crisis and Philip Schofield they hit with concentrated messages of smiling, happy, thin people and wormtongue in your ear that if only you buy their shit you can be just like them on the telly.

tui advert ain't nobody

Whisper, whisper. A holiday, a car, a burger.The unfettered delights of broadband from a slightly different supplier. And checking your FUCKING. CREDIT. HISTORY. They lie in wait for us like a Victorian butcher’s assistant awaiting a lady of the night in the fog-shrouded east end (oh, and let’s take it as read I despise James Corden, any price-comparison websites, betting websites, virtually anything for banks and acknowledge the sheer ineptitude of most daytime things for hoovers, gardening kneepads and meals-on-wheels).

And so you buy something and, fractionally, momentarily feel a little bit better. And then it’s onto the drudgery of the fifth nightly episode of Coronation Street. So I urge you: don’t see adverts as harmless or even a bit of a laugh.

Think of them as evil; as obviously evil as Rebekah Vardy. And steel yourself for what’s ahead, for it’s the time of year when I choose the absolute nadir. Brace yourselves: it’s the worst adverts of 2017.

Read: worst adverts of 2017

Sainsbury’s food dancing advert

Want to know what it looks like to spend bazillions of quids on a campaign in which no-one has the slightest faith? Look no further than the Sansbury’s Food Dancing adverts, which features a rainbow vision of Britain where everyone prances about while cooking.

It’s like a Brian Eno cut-up technique where a bunch of creatives have inexpertly welded together a bunch of aspirational and on-brand concepts and like a conceptual Human Caterpillar (please don’t Google that if you don’t know what it means) and just as grisly.

All so somewhere a handful of people will upload their videos to Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram with the hashtag #FoodDancing. And somewhere in London some people will make a note of this and make a PowerPoint then show it to someone who works at Sainsbury’s who, in turn, will hand over a cheque for three million pounds.

• Read the original: Sainsbury’s food dancing advert

Tui Ain’t Nobody advert

You know you almost have to admire this advert for Tui, a thing that used to be called Thomson that has been rationalised into a noise that seems designed to represent gross physical nausea, given the reactions to this spot.

I pondered not even doing a poll this year, as it’s quite clear to me that Tui is going to sweep away everything in its path like a physical tide of comical ineptitude worse than an Apprentice candidate laced with enough chemical sludge to make everyone evacuate every bodily receptacle at once.

Clearly one of the worst adverts of 2017; clearly one of the most dreadful thing to take place within our solar system since the Kuiper Belt fiddled a load of OAPs out of their war pensions.

• Read the original: Tui advert

Clearscore advert

People actually complained when I ran through this advert with a spit before roasting it unceremoniously on top of a Bonfire of James Corden autobiographies. Because it has animals it.

Look, I like animals. I like them so much I give money to the RSPCA, RSPB, WWF and a variety of wildlife and environmental charities and pressure groups. That’s what liking animals means, not gawping at the fucking things and making that ‘aww’ noise when you see a CGI one on the telly before polishing off another cow-leg sandwich.

So, frankly, fuck adverts that use non-existent animals as a means to barter entrance into your subconscious. As for you, if you’re one of the people who liked teh funnay animals, go and put a bird feeder up in your back garden.

• Read the original: Clearscore advert

Virgin Trains advert

“Speedcore or Spandau?” Virgin asked us.

“Hobnail boot or baseball bat?” replied the world.

Like Piers Morgan entering your bedroom, dousing you with a bucket of cold water and dragging his fingernails down a blackboard just as you near orgasm.

• Read the original: Virgin Trains advert

Windows rapping teacher advert

A good grief. Tony, what have you done. Though I might decry bigotry and jingoism in all its forms I have to admit to a kernel of annoyance when American adverts are beamed, unchanged, into our upright, steadfast and proudly parochial British living rooms. We just can’t deal with such an earnest lack of irony and if there’s anything Tony lacks – apart from the name of a good hairdresser and any flow whatsoever – it’s irony. Tony got in touch on Twitter and seems like a good guy, but by God he really is responsible for one of the worst adverts I’ve ever seen.

• Read the original: Windows rapping teacher advert

McDonald’s dead Dad advert

I dislike McDonald’s for many reasons, but I never thought they would add ‘exploiting bereaved children in order to sell hamburgers’ to that list.

Of course, a diet high in sugars, fat and salt is probably more likely to lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes so perhaps it’s no surprise that Dad popped his clogs before his son was in long trousers.

• Read the original: McDonald’s dead Dad advert

Skeletor Moneysupermarket adverts

Like a shark, price-comparison site adverts have to keep moving forward to stay alive. Well, if that shark was a total cunt anyway. Every now and again a Go Compare or a Moneysupermarket stumbles across a winning formula – a genuinely amusing, original or dissonant advert that catches the eyes and actually entertains for the first 600 or so times you see it. But there’s always a regression to the mean that ensure the next one up will be as depressingly banal as usual.

Perhaps there’s simply no point in making the effort in this peculiar niche of advertising where your product is literally exactly the same as your three main rivals. If shouting the loudest and longest is the mark of success I guess we should be surprised there’s as much effort as there is in these crushingly tossed-off, will-this-do ‘ironic thing from your childhood’ bowel movements casually shat out by agencies who know they’re onto a good thing.

• Read the original: Skeletor adverts

McDonald’s McCafe advert

Yes it’s McDonald’s again – did I tell you I don’t like them? – with this advert that’s half-good. Unfortunately the rest of it is pure, concentrated evil – as bad as the stuff that seeps out of the pages of the Dailies Mail and Express every day and poison the brain, heart and any other major organs of anyone who is exposed for long enough.

This point-and-laugh exercise is a metaphor for Britain in 2017, where anything different, anything fancy, anything highbrow or anything that attempts to lift itself out of the Shit Life Syndrome bog much of England is right now can be ridiculed just because it’s not itself shit.

Imagine Nigel Farage in his stupid upmarket Del Boy coat smoking a fag, braying that posh-boy laugh and slurping a cup of McCafe coffee – it’s startling easy to – and you’ll never look at it in the same way again.

• Read the original: McDonald’s McCafe advert

Nationwide ‘share a sunrise’ advert

Meet Toby and Laurie. On second thoughts, don’t.

TalkTalk advert

It’s actually called This Is Christmas. Shane Meadows meets Googlebox – somehow conspiring to advertise broadband with a soundtrack of ‘real people’ singing. Ghastly.

Vote: worst adverts of 2017

Obviously if you’ve voting on the worst adverts of 2017 it’s going to be Tui. But I’ll be keeping a close eye on second and third place in the battle to find the worst adverts of 2017…